After the Sydney Shield saved the season’s biggest upset for its all-important decider in 2016, form guides can go out the window for the new 2017 season.

The East Campbelltown Eagles, who finished the regular season in fifth position, completed a remarkable victory over minor premiers Mounties in the grand final at Pirtek Stadium, despite losing seven more games throughout the home-and-away season. As the 2017 draw is released, fans can be assured that an exciting brand of Rugby League will exist in this competition just as much as it does in higher grades.

Two fewer teams will compete for the Sydney Shield this season; the Windsor Wolves will withdraw alongside their Ron Massey Cup side after falling agonisingly short of finals football last year, while the second-placed Peninsula Seagulls will be a game-changing omission as they will also take no part. The Auburn Warriors, still active in the Ron Massey Cup, are also removed and they will be replaced by new addition the Moorebank Rams. It is a significant shake-up which will result in six high-quality games each weekend and no byes until the major bye periods between Rounds 9 and 19.

Round 1 sees two historic firsts for the Sydney Shield, with the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles kicking off a triple-header under their new partnership at HE Laybutt Fields on Sunday, 5 March. The Moorebank Rams, based in South West Sydney, are also set to host their first game against St Marys in the opening weekend. The replay of the 2016 grand final will be held in Round 6 at Waminda Oval, with the Eagles hoping to prove that September’s win over Mounties was no fluke as they look to defend their title.

Over an extended season of 25 rounds, Rugby League is set to light up Sydney across all grades again this year.

For the full Sydney Shield draw, visit our Live Match Centre.

Please note draws are subject to change.